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I wrote this letter to my local newspaper this morning, asking them to do a feature about peanut/ food allergies as part of their back to school coverage:

I am writing this morning about the feature in today's Extra section about Back to School. In the section about what to eat, the column included the words, "Peanut butter is a snackers best friend." While that may very well be true, peanut butter in a school cafeteria can also become the cause of a serious health issue for many children in public schools. Peanut allergies have increased significantly in the past 5 years. The scary thing about peanut allergies is, you never know what the severity of a reaction could be. It could be just a rash around the mouth one day, and the next time the child is exposed to peanut oils, even peanut particles in the air, that same child could have an anaphylactic reaction requiring immediate attention.

I am not saying that peanut butter should be banned in schools. I am too realistic to believe that would ever happen; plus, I personally love peanut butter and I know it is a staple in many children's diets. However, I do think it is irresponsible of a newspaper to encourage parents to send peanut butter to school -- at least without also providing information about the risk of causing a severe reaction in children with known (or unknown) peanut allergies.

I am writing to suggest that the newspaper do a piece to create awareness for parents of school children about peanut allergies, or maybe food allergies in general.

I would be happy to point you to resources, but really just a google search on peanut allergy should be sufficient to reveal lots of sources. Also There could very well be children in public schools who are allergic to peanuts and do not know it. We have no history of food allergies in our family; and out of 3 children, 1 of them is allergic to peanuts. Despite that we were careful and did not introduce peanuts to her until she was over 2 years old, she was diagnosed with a peanut allergy when she was 3.5 years old. The doctor told us we are not to have peanut butter in the house at any time as it is a real health risk for our daughter. This, even though we had consumed peanut butter at home every morning for her entire 3.5 years of life up to that point. It can be THAT serious.

So, please, consider doing a story on this relevant and important topic for back to school.
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